San Francisco, CA – September 24, 2012 – Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra announces the release of Brahms’ Serenades on October 9, the fifth disc to be released since the 2011 founding of Philharmonia Baroque Productions. Music Director Nicholas McGegan leads Philharmonia Baroque inthis disc of Brahms’ Serenades, recorded in live performances March 10 and 11, 2012 (Serenade No. 2) and February 13 and 14, 2010 (Serenade No. 1) at Berkeley’s First Congregational Church.
Of the live performances in the San Francisco Chronicle critic Joshua Kosman stated that Maestro McGegan “embraced every opportunity to give the music a musky physicality – especially in the outer movements, whose rhythmic force was arresting.”
All Philharmonia Baroque Productions recordings are distributed by harmonia mundi in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Austria and are available in both standard CD and digital download formats from Amazon, iTunes and other online outlets as well as all major retailers and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra website, philharmonia.org. All five of the Philharmonia Baroque Productions recordingsare produced and engineered by David v.R. Bowles, who has produced the orchestra’s recordings since 1996.
Critical acclaim has been high for Philharmonia Baroque’s recording label with The New York Times calling the first release of Berlioz’s Les Nuits d’été “almost forbiddingly beautiful” and philharmonia.org proclaiming the third release of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons “brimming with color, vitality, and imaginative interpretation.” The most recent release, Handel’s opera, Atalanta, was acclaimed by the San Francisco Chronicle as “…magnificent…the most vibrant, exhilarating stretch of musical showmanship this organization has offered in many a long season.” Named Musical America’s Ensemble of the Year in 2004, music critic Joshua Kosman said, “This adventuresome band has carved out a niche as the nation’s liveliest purveyor of period performances. The uncommon brilliance of its instrumental playing infuses the historical-performance enterprise with a vitality and zest that are worlds removed from dull conformity to the dictates of scholarship.”
Among the most-recorded period-instrument orchestras in the United States or in Europe, Philharmonia has made thirty-three highly praised recordings – including its Gramophone award-winning recording of Handel’s Susanna – for harmonia mundi, Reference Recordings and BMG. In 2011, the orchestra launched its own label, Philharmonia Baroque Productions, with an acclaimed recording of Berlioz’ Les Nuits d’été and Handel arias featuring mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. The second CD release, Haydn: Symphonies No. 104 “London”, No. 88, No. 101 “The Clock,” was nominated for a GRAMMY® Award for Best Orchestral Performance. The ensemble then went on to release a commended recording of Vivaldi violin concertos including The Four Seasons featuring violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock. These last five releases on the Philharmonia label – including the upcoming Serenades – are the first the orchestra has issued since 2007, when it self-released live recordings of Jake Heggie’s To Hell and Back and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.